NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus admits that he is anti-facial hair and has been lobbying NHL hockey players to end the tradition of growing playoffs beards. Lazarus opposes the beards because he feels it hurts his TV brand.
Every hockey fan knows that since the 1980s there has been a widespread practice of hockey players growing a beard for the playoffs. But the executive from the network that aired The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams says that he wants players to stop covering their faces with the fuzz because it puts a dampener on new fans getting to know what individual players look like.
“I know it’s a tradition and superstition, but I think (beards) hurt recognition. They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition with fans saying, ‘That guy looks like the kid next store,’ which many of these guys do. I think that would be a nice thing,” Lazarus recently said.
He admitted that he is “just a TV guy,” but went on to say that because of the facial hair new fans might have a harder time getting to know the players and making them recognizable sports stars.
“These are the most-watched games and they’re all bearded up,” the NBC chief complained.
Still the TV suit did accede that his urging will probably fall on deaf dears. “They don’t want to listen to me,” he carped.
“I know there are some traditions and superstitions that you can’t mess with,” he said. “But this is one tradition I could do without.”
Others are also pretty sure the Lazarus won’t win the argument. Seth Rosenthal of SBNation.com noted, “Guys are gonna do whatever they want with their facial hair. You don’t make the face rules, TV man.”
Adam Gretz of CBS Sports agrees. In a Tuesday post Gretz said it is “absurd” to say that beards hurt hockey.
“It’s nothing more than out of control brand management,” Gretz said. “Or attempted brand management. The NFL doesn’t seem to have a problem marketing its players whose faces are covered by giant facemasks every time they step on the field.”
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